What’s the best book Mary Roach has read recently? Tim Johnston’s first novel, Descent: “I read the last 30 pages in an airport, 10 feet from the gate, and did not notice the boarding announcements. I missed my flight for literature.” Bonus: Here’s Roach’s interview with The Millions from a couple of years back.
William Weaver, Italo Calvino’s longtime translator, writes about the pair’s “complex relationship,” their “consuming passion for words,” and the Cosmicomics author’s travels through “his invisible cities, cities of ideas, or perhaps ideas masquerading as cities.”
Draw It With Your Eyes Closed, which has been a fixture on our Top Ten lists of late, has launched a companion website to “expand on the previously published content, allowing a broader range of teachers, students, and artists to access, share, and contribute to the project.”
Lots of new books out this week: Where Mortals Sleep, previously unpublished short fiction by Kurt Vonnegut, with a foreword by Dave Eggers; A Life, one of what will be several biographies of J.D. Salinger arriving over the next couple of years; Stanley Fish tells us How to Write a Sentence: And How to Read One; Brian Greene introduced the masses to string theory with The Elegant Universe, and now he’s back with The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos; Julie Orringer’s The Invisible Bridge is out in paperback; and finally, from Penguin Classics, The Penguin Book of Victorian Women in Crime: Forgotten Cops and Private Eyes from the Time of Sherlock Holmes.
“I think writing about the real world, as we live in it today, is very difficult; many writers try to escape it. But then what books will be the classics from our generation? Which of them will be the commentaries on our lot?” William Ruof argues that studying nonfiction may make the best fiction writers in a piece for The State Press.
An international group of forensic experts studying the poet Pablo Neruda‘s remains, which were ordered exhumed in 2013, says he didn’t die of cancer, as the Nobel laureate’s official cause of death states. The question remains: was he poisoned? And if you want to see how Neruda lived, perhaps you might enjoy this tour of writers’ houses.